One of the great things about being away, is coming home. You return to the places and people that are familiar and dear, but (usually!) you come back enriched by whatever experiences you have had while you have been away. This week, I return to Lowther Hall energised by my experiences visiting schools, being at the Anglican Schools Australia Conference, undertaking professional learning, having extended meetings with colleagues and seeing the Year 6 girls embrace their Canberra Study Tour! While I have been travelling, I have also had the opportunity to re-read all the notes I took earlier in August at the Board Strategic Planning Day and to prepare for the next stages of the strategic planning process which will take place with the School Council and Senior Management Committee in the coming weeks. At last it feels as though the immediate, daily crisis management that has characterised the last 2 years is making way for some exciting planning and thinking and it is truly an exciting time for the School as we begin to finalise and implement a vision for the next 5 to 10 years.

During the last 4 months I have also been undertaking some online study through the Harvard Business School, specifically designed for School Principals. I undertook one of these classes just before flying home to Melbourne. (One of the benefits of COVID is that we now feel so comfortable to learn on-line, anywhere, any time – which makes engaging in world class learning experiences amazingly doable!) The course has allowed me to work with colleagues from around Australia and with Harvard Faculty members to think about what leadership of schools should look like as we emerge from the pandemic. We have looked at case studies from retail, from IT and, this week, from the American Air Force, to reflect on different models of decision making and to consider how we can best cultivate positive culture, innovate to solve complex problems and deliver excellent outcomes for our communities. I have found it timely to reflect on the ways in which we will need to adapt and innovate again in the coming months and years in order to be the very best school we can be. I look forward to working with the girls, the staff and the broader community of Lowther Hall families as we undertake this next phase of our journey together.

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes